Trigger Warning // discussions of sexual assault and transphobia.
Never did I think this song would cause the type of uproar it did, but here we are. “WAP” by Cardi B featuring Megan Thee Stallion was released just days ago, and if you’re plugged into the social-media-verse at all, you can’t escape the discussion. The song is unique, features two huge names in the rap industry, and most of all downright filthy.
Of course, all songs have their lovers and haters (“Never Gonna Give You Up,” “Gangnam Style,” “Run Joey Run,” “What Does the Fox Say”…) but “WAP” has caused a unique ripple in our universe. Either you love the boldness of the lyrics, or you blame it for the downfall of music. And while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, many listeners seem to be missing a few key points to the “WAP” movement.
Let’s get one thing out of the way — women can do whatever they want. I can’t believe this is something we are still debating. If Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion want to walk into a recording studio and sing about their intimate sex lives, by all means, they can. They aren’t the first women to sing about sex, and they certainly won’t be the last. Their past material has never shied away from the bedroom either, making the new song normal to fans of either artist.
Yet for some reason, the specific term in the song — “wet a** p****” — is causing an absolute uproar. While it’s not uncommon for women to talk about sex in music, it’s still quite bold to intimately describe genitalia, let alone name the whole song after it. This has upset several conservative critics, namely Ben Shapiro, as the song is deemed too vulgar to be anything but harmful.
Now, I want to throw you back in time to good old 2018, when Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson we’re engaged to be married. Another three-letter acronym, “BDE,” had taken the world by storm. Even BRANDS were tweeting about male genitalia — and they got away with it because the world knew this wasn’t actually about the D. This was a movement about confidence, about men who took charge while being respectful, about being who you are.
There’s one difference between BDE and WAP, and I think you can figure it out.
But BDE and WAP aren’t opposites. Not all men have “d’s” and not all women have “p’s.” And this is exactly what I feel defenders of “WAP” are forgetting — Cardi B has an openly transphobic past, and has been called out for this several times. Not only that, but she has admitted publicly to drugging and robbing men, and even alluding to initiating sex without consent in these instances.
Now, Cardi B’s success story is inspiring if you remove these accusations. However, it is hard to ignore the public comments that she has made, especially for the transgender community and victims of sexual assault. Cardi B has since retracted her transphobic and homophobic comments, explaining that she had an uneducated past and never saw herself as against the community. She also reminded her fans that she is bisexual herself, and has a cousin who is transgender. If anything, Cardi probably did not realize the words she was saying carried harm.
While she has apologized and shown her support as well as confirmed her place within the LGBT community, we must remember: it is the duty of trans individuals to forgive her, not cis ones. If you identify as cisgender, this apology isn’t for you to accept and decide that she has changed.
Change to her transphobia or not, there is not a lot of wiggle room for assault accusations. And sadly, the allegations of women attacking men are way too often swept under the rug. By ignoring that Cardi B has been accused of such crimes, we are doing a disservice to feminism and the #MeToo movement.
These allegations coupled with the vulgar song… don’t mix. To victims of Cardi B’s past, it’s uncomfortable to hear her so proudly discuss how sex-positive she is. And it’s our duty to respect these survivors by not participating in the hype.
So I call on you, anti WAP-ers, to really consider why the song disturbs you so much. Are you afraid of women doing what they want? Or are you acknowledging the problems that come from the artist?
Because if it’s the first one, I can tell you that loud and proud women are not going anywhere. Men in the music industry have been doing this for years, and so have countless other women before Cardi and Meg. Your issue isn’t with vulgar lyrics, it’s with the vulgar lyrics being about womanhood. You can’t handle the idea of a population you see as lesser (likely, without realizing you do,) finding enjoyment in the activity of sex, . You need to look inside yourself and figure out why.
But if it’s the latter, thank you for choosing to believe survivors. Thank you for standing with your trans brothers and sisters. Thank you for not sweeping allegations under the rug. Your aversion is making a difference to the communities that Cardi B has blatantly harmed.
Listen to WAP or don’t. It is your right to. You’re allowed to love it, and you’re allowed to hate it. But if you hate it, all I do is ask you to answer one question:
Hannah is an accidental internet meme, drummer, loud talker, and proud owner of a purse that functions as a working analog clock. She got the media writer gene from her dad, PF Wilson, another writer for Pop Culture Beast. Her favorite bands come and go on a seasonal rotation, but Marina & The Diamonds and Say Anything are here to say. She’s probably watching The Grand Budapest Hotel right now, but if she isn’t, she’s out photographing rock concerts.